Tonight's Showtime Championship Boxing doesn't have too many people excited, and it's understandable. With at least two mismatches and a third fight for a world title that has no reason to exist and can't by any reasonable standard be considered legitimate, this is a true showcase card on paper, and though there have been many like it in boxing's televised history (including The Golden Age of TV boxing), it's never right to expect people to swallow crap and like it.
So let's give you five reasons to watch tonight. Or at least we can try.
1. If Danny Garcia and Lamont Peterson win, maybe they'll fight next
This kind of comes with an asterisk, too, because I don't honestly recall anyone demanding a Garcia-Peterson fight. But it would be a 140-pound title unification, as Garcia has the RING, WBC, and WBA titles, and Peterson holds the IBF belt. And Peterson might be the best fighter at 140 that Garcia hasn't already beaten and could easily face with promotional politics still what they are.
Garcia is a 30-to-1 favorite in his catchweight, non-title fight with Rod Salka, and Peterson is a 25-to-1 favorite against New York club veteran Edgar Santana, who doesn't deserve a title shot any more than Salka did, in all reality. Both should win, and win handily. They're the outrageous favorites for good reasons.
2. Daniel Jacobs is a great story
This one comes with no asterisk. Daniel Jacobs beat crippling cancer to resume a once-promising pro boxing career and fight his way back into shape and into contention at 160 pounds. There's a chance he'll face IBF titleholder Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin sooner than later, as that's the best fight Golden Boy and Al Haymon can make for either guy, probably. But tonight, he takes on Jarrod Fletcher for a fake version of the belt Gennady Golovkin holds.
Jacobs is no gimme here, though he's the favorite. Fletcher can fight a little, though against his best opponent, he was stopped in two rounds by Billy Joe Saunders. Jacobs (27-1, 24 KO) is a good puncher who has thrashed his mediocre opposition since returning in 2012. Is Fletcher (18-1, 10 KO) really better than them? I'm not sure.
Here's a video from back in 2012, when Jacobs was just starting his comeback:
3. Rod Salka will come to win
Rod Salka (19-3, 3 KO) has everything to gain and nothing to lose tonight against Garcia (28-0, 16 KO). Well, not quite everything. He cannot gain Garcia's world titles, which also means Garcia has nothing to gain and not quite everything to lose.
Personally, my biggest reason for not liking this fight and having to point out its deficiencies as a Showtime main event, is that it makes me inadvertently bash Rod Salka. I don't mean to do that. I like Salka, honestly. He's a gritty fighter who's made some improvements over his career, got robbed last year on Showtime against Canelo Alvarez's brother, and came back to ShoBox to score a nice win over unbeaten prospect Alexei Collado. Really, as much as most guys who get world title shots in boxing do, Salka has fought his way here.
And he'll come to win. In the preview just linked two paragraphs up, I noted that Garcia's biggest struggles as a pro have come against Mauricio Herrera and Ashley Theophane, two crafty, orthodox fighters whose tricky styles just seemed to give Garcia fits, for whatever reason. Salka probably isn't as good as Herrera, but he's probably about as good as Theophane. Sure, Garcia's gotten a lot better since he fought Theophane, but a similar if not exact style just gave Garcia problems earlier this year. Salka will be there trying to win. I think you can at least expect that from him in the clear "opponent" role.
Hey, but join us anyway! Tonight at 9:00 pm EDT, we'll have live coverage.